Hak kebebasan bersuara pejuang hak asasi manusia (BM/ENG)

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[ENGLISH VERSION BELOW] Suruhanjaya Hak Asasi Manusia Malaysia (Suhakam) menegaskan pendiriannya bahawa prinsip kebebasan menyatakan bersuara yang merupakan hak seluruh rakyat Malaysia seperti yang termaktub di bawah Perkara 10 Perlembagaan Persekutuan termasuk Perkara 19 Perisytiharan Hak Asasi Manusia Sejagat.

Suhakam percaya bahawa sesiapa yang memberikan pandangan tentang hak asasi manusia sepatutnya tidak bimbang dikenakan tindakan ataupun intimidasi.

Pendapat dan pandangan yang dibuat dalam konteks perbahasan akademik, penglibatan dalam politik atau aktiviti yang serupa, yang tidak berniat untuk mencetuskan kebencian, kemarahan, keganasan atau diskriminasi, seharusnya dianggap sebagai satu amalan dalam memenuhi hak kebebasan bersuara.

Batasan ini tidak boleh disamakan dengan penapisan atau sebarang tindakan yang mengekang, sebagai contoh, perkara yang melibatkan pemerintah atau dalam usaha untuk menjadikan pendapat penyampaian ucapan itu sebagai satu jenayah.

Suhakam ingin menekankan bahawa sebarang penggunaan Akta Hasutan 1948 terutamanya bagi tujuan mengehadkan hak kebebasan bersuara adalah tidak adil dan menindas.

Suhakam mengecam penggunaannya untuk menutup mulut dan mengugut pejuang hak asasi manusia dan ia juga tidak boleh digunakan untuk menangani perbezaan pendapat dalam isu-isu sensitif di Malaysia dan forum antarabangsa.

Ruang untuk menyatakan pendapat yang menyokong atau menentang kerajaan dan masyarakat merupakan asas kepada demokrasi, ketelusan dan tadbir urus yang baik.

Pada zaman ini, kerajaan, agensi yang berkenaan dan rakyat mempunyai kewajipan untuk menerima kritikan dan rungutan tanpa mengira apa jua perantara.

Tambahan pula, ruang untuk berhujah dan berbahas merupakan satu penanda aras kepada masyarakat yang terbuka di mana mereka boleh menerima perbezaan pendapat dan kepercayaan.

Ini amat penting terutamanya bagi negara yang berbilang kaum seperti Malaysia, di mana penubuhannya adalah berdasarkan semangat kepelbagaian kaum. Kita tidak boleh mengakui bahawa kita mempunyai semangat kepelbagaian sekiranya kita tidak boleh menerima orang lain hanya kerana mereka berbeza.

READ MORE:  Freedom of expression still being violated under PH government

Yang paling penting, penerimaan dan toleransi ini tidak bermakna bahawa kita perlu menerima pandangan yang bercanggah dengan kepercayaan kita; namun pandangan mereka seharusnya dihormati termasuk apabila mereka membincangkan isu-isu sukar seperti bangsa, agama dan identiti gender.

Suhakam mengakui bahawa terdapat keseimbangan yang rumit antara kebebasan dan keselamatan dan mengakui bahawa pelaksanaan kebebasan bersuara mungkin tertakluk kepada sekatan yang ditetapkan oleh undang-undang.

Walau bagaimanapun, sekatan tersebut harus seimbang, berkadaran, jelas dan adil; dan yang paling penting ia harus mematuhi norma antarabangsa mengenai hak kebebasan bersuara dan menyatakan pendapat.

Jerald Joseph ialah pemangku pengerusi Suruhanjaya Hak Asasi Manusia Malaysia (Suhakam).

English version

Protecting the right to freedom of expression of human rights defenders

The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) reaffirms its position on the principles of freedom of expression, which is the right of all Malaysians as articulated under Article 10 of the Federal Constitution as well as Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Suhakam believes that anyone who expresses views on human rights should not suffer from fear of reprisal or intimidation.

Controversial ideas and opinions made in the context of academic debates, political engagement or similar activities, and without any intention to incite hatred, contempt, violence or discriminations, should be regarded as a legitimate exercise of the right of freedom of expression.

These limitations do not translate to censorship or any suppressive acts, such as in involving state actors or making efforts to criminalise those delivering these speeches.

Suhakam wishes to reiterate that any use of the Sedition Act 1948, particularly for the purpose of restricting the right to freedom of expression, is unjust and oppressive.

READ MORE:  Not seditious to ask for abolition of Sedition Act

Suhakam denounces the attempt to use it to silence and intimidate human rights defenders, and it should not be used to handle differences of opinion on sensitive matters in Malaysia or at other international forums.

The ability to express opinions both for or against the overnment and society is the foundation of democracy, transparency and good governance. In this day and age, it is incumbent upon the government, related agencies as well as citizens to be able to receive and accept criticisms and complaints regardless of medium.

Furthermore, the ability to freely argue and debate is an indicator of a healthy and open society which can accept differences in opinion and belief. This is especially crucial for a multicultural country like Malaysia, whose founding was predicated on celebrating diversity.

We cannot profess to be truly diverse if we cannot accept others for being different. Most importantly, this acceptance and tolerance does not mean that one has to accept a position that is contrary to one’s belief; rather that we as a people agree to disagree, even when discussing difficult issues such as race, religion or gender identity matters.

Suhakam comprehends the delicate balance between freedom and security and recognises that the exercise of freedom of expression may be subject to strict restrictions prescribed by law; however, such restrictions must be balanced, proportionate, unambiguous and just – and most importantly it should comply with international norms on the right to freedom of expression and speech.

Jerald Joseph is acting chairman of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam).

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